Sometimes when really bad things happen, it actually illuminates a part of us that is really great. When things in my personal life take a turn for the worst, I generally dwell on it for a while, and then pick myself back up and focus my energy elsewhere. So why not make that elsewhere something really productive for your life? It doesn’t have to be something big at first… you can buy a new book you’ve been meaning to read that will inspire you, or meet some new friends that will push you closer to your future goals in life.
Yes, displacing your efforts somewhere away from what’s going on in your personal life may be a form of avoidance or distraction, but sometimes we all need that. I’m not recommending that you completely shut out whatever is going on in your life, but rather channeling some of your energy towards something more positive and uplifting than whatever hardship you are going through.
I’m willing to bet that anyone that has started their own business or ferociously pursued a new idea or sold all of their belongings for a round the world trip has had some type of personal life breakdown that led them to want to make a change. It’s rare that someone who is, or seemingly is, pretty content with how things are going in their life to make a total 180-degree change.
A breakdown point can result from a number of different things – a death in the family, relationship problems, unhappiness at work, personal stressors, the bad economy, etc. Allow yourself to properly deal with the hardship, and then be determined to move on from it. As soon as you get a new, positive focus, the bad things in your life will slowly be replaced with this invigorating and purposeful shift.
My recommendation would be to turn your focus to your professional life, especially if it’s your current work status that is making you stressed or depressed. If it’s not your current work status and something else, like a break-up or loss, investing time into your professional life (your “career”) is also a great idea. For the most part, we are motivated by doing well, receiving praise, accomplishing our goals, and sharing our happiness. Each one of those parts is important, and they can be achieved by investing time into your professional life.
The “professional life” sphere is a pretty big area. To some, it could mean finding a 9-5 job that really satisfies what you want your career path to look like. For others, it will mean working retail or finding a way to work from home so that you have a more flexible schedule, but a steady income. For others still, it will mean starting their own business to obtain maximum flexibility in their career path. There is an unlimited number of paths that you can take, but I think the underlying goal to all of these paths is to a) be happy and b) make enough money to sustain a lifestyle.
I’m focusing most of my time on my professional life right now because of a couple personal life struggles, and I find myself even more motivated to succeed in this area of my life than I ever have before. I think that devoting time to work, GOOD work, is vastly important in everyone’s life. While a lot of people will talk about how great it would be to relax on the beach all day long doing nothing, I doubt this would be fulfilling in the long run. We need to DO – we need to achieve and succeed and think and innovate in a way that make senses for us on an individual level.
What makes one person satisfied can be totally different than what works for another person, so the key here is to figure out what will make you the most satisfied and happy in life and work towards that goal. Doing this after a personal blow will help you feel motivated and excited. There’s no better time to reinvent your professional life than when you are feeling particularly unsatisfied by your personal life.
For more inspiration, check out the blogs on my “The Smashed Planet Recommends” sidebar for awesome people doing awesome things. Read their stories about the journey towards happiness through professional exploration and change. Cordelia Calls It Quits, The Trailblazing Life, Castle’s In The Air and DaveUrsillo.com all come highly recommended.